Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Should we be talking?

Well, I got back to Austin and hit the ground running as I had to learn my part in ¡No Se Paga! and move the show into the Salvage Vanguard Theater at 2803 Manor Road in one week. ¡No Se Paga, We Won't Pay!, opened Thursday, August 13 and will continue the run through August 30. The show is at 8PM every night except on Sunday, when it is at 3PM.

We are happy to partner with four groups who provide food for those in need. They are Manos de Cristo, Casa Marianella, El Buen Samaritano, and The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. You get a few dollars off the ticket price for a donation of non-perishable food. (You know, something in a can or box.) The play, a comedy about people being hungry, is very funny, but in real life hunger is not. So come have a laugh and do some good for those less fortunate in our community. So much for advertising.

But speaking of advertising. There is something that has begun to happen with such regularity that is has become something that we don't talk about but maybe we should. Jo Ann Carreon- Reyes (you know who she is but just in case, Teatro Vivo, Business Director and my lovely wife), Marisa Limon (company member of Teatro Vivo and Aztlan Folkdance) and Karinna Perez (company member of Teatro Vivo and Latino Comedy Project) need to take credit for this. They have nurtured a relationship with our three groups that lead to cross advertising for one another. We carry ads for their shows in our programs, on our emails and our websites. They do they same. We encourage our audiences to see each other's shows.

What? Three Latino groups working in such good cooperation? Well, there is about to be a fourth, Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklorico de Texas has been invited to also put notices in our programs for their events. Which will include a collaboration with Teatro Vivo in the fall of 2010.

We have begun conversations to coordinate calendars a little more to avoid what occurs every now an then, two shows running concurrently. It would be very difficult to make all our shows happen on totally different weeks, but we can at least open a week or two apart and give each other's shows a boost in our programs, emails and websites.

To me this points us in a direction that is not new and every now and then comes around at the right moment. And now might just be that moment. With the city already announcing that cuts will be coming for arts funding (which to me always translates into "the groups that are trying to reach those underserved audiences will be cut"), we need a "strength in numbers" approach. The idea is to form a group of Latino arts groups and individual artists. Yes, yes, it has been done before, but one element that is present now that perhaps wasn't there in the past is "maturity" and knowledge that we are not fighting over the same enchilada anymore. Our audiences have expanded greatly and they are diverse. We have discovered our own art forms and they are all unique.

It is no coincidence that the Opera, the Ballet, Symphony and Zachary Scott are courting the influential Latinos to be on their boards. And it is no coincidence that those Latinos are accepting. Our small groups cannot compete with the social status that those groups guarantee. I mean let's face it. If Teatro Vivo has a good run, in three weeks we may bring in 1500 people for one of our shows. The Opera on one night can bring in 2400 at the new Dell Theater. So when will Teatro Vivo be able to compete with that? Maybe someday.

But with a coalition of Latino groups and individuals, we can begin to compete with them immediately. Roen Salina's Aztlan performance at the Dell was wonderful and played to, in my estimation, 500 people. When we were at the Rollins Theatre also at the Long Center, we sold out the house for 6 performances (almost 1000 people in one week). They begin to add up don't they? So for right now, let's keep sharing our publicity and maybe we can share a beer or coffee and just begin to plant some seeds. After all gardening is one of my favorite things to do.

And now this:

Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklorico de Texas at Zilker Park Saturday August 29 @ 8 pm Free performance!

The LCP presents "El Channel", an all-new, hilarious sketch comedy show. Two Weekends Only! Fridays & Saturdays August 21-29 @ 8PM & 10:15pm

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